Being a parent is one of life’s most delightful and rewarding experiences. At the same time, it can be one of life’s most exasperating and demanding challenges. It works best when we are loving and understanding during our children’s growing-up years, when we are consistent and calm in our reactions, and when we are wise and mature in our actions and attitudes. But who on earth does all of that? We may be parents who are grateful for our children, but we’re still 100 per cent human. This means we are sinful, stressed-out people who are often too busy, too impatient, too quick to jump to conclusions, and too extreme in our reactions. The last thing healthy parents want is to hurt and discourage those they love so much. But we also know that standing firm is a necessary part of training, which means our love must sometimes be “tough love,” and our actions must sometimes be strong and unbending. After all, we’re dealing with children who must one day discipline and restrain themselves. They learn how to do that from parents who discipline them for wrongdoing and restrain them from defiance and rebellion. Simply put, we must learn how to shape each child’s will with wisdom.
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